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Should you retire abroad?

Learn About Retiring Abroad – Determining Your “Expatibility,” or Candidacy, for Retiring Abroad

A lot of us wanted to travel abroad while we were younger or were interested in taking time off work to explore and see more of the world. You may or may not have had the chance to see as much of the world as you wanted. But now you nearing retirement. And you always thought you’d travel once your career was complete. Now you are considering going abroad – and staying abroad permanently as a retired expat.

How do you determine if retiring abroad is right for you?

For one thing, going abroad for retirement is an adventure. Another thing is that it may make total financial sense to leave your native country, with costs of living climbing. And it’s never been easier to pull off expat living – with resources at your fingertips around the clock through the easy facilitation of information-sharing online. You can look up what others have done and read about their experiences online, and even connect with them as well.

Determining your expatibility is the most important step to deciding if you should retire abroad.

Here are two steps you can take in order to determine whether you’re a good candidate for this adventurous expat lifestyle.

Step 1. Take a good look at yourself and profile whether you have the personal disposition to retire abroad.
Retiring abroad takes a desire for adventure, yes. But it also means embracing change, difference and meeting difficulties with an open mind. Do you shy away from obstacles that may arise, like language barriers and a different way of life? You should also consider the following disadvantages of moving abroad:

  1. You will not be able to see your friends and family as much
  2. You may have to sell your house and give up health coverage back home
  3. You will have to give up some activities at home which may not be available in your new location – such as skiing if you are moving from Vancouver to Barbados.
  4. Will you have enough money to last for your life no matter how long you live?

Also, are you ready to immerse yourself in a different culture, including the food, the type of dress you’d be donning? If not, then retiring abroad may not be for you. Or you’re not just yet ready to take the leap into expat life at the moment.

Step 2. Ask yourself what you truly need – what are your necessities in life?

What are some things you absolutely can’t live without? Do you need to be able to speak the local language in your new home country or get away with speaking English? Do you have to have the ability to live with very low costs, or peace and quiet, or a car or internet? Evaluating your needs will help you decide if you’re able to live abroad, and where.

Whether or not you decide to retire abroad, and wherever you go, remember that you’re going to need international health coverage as it’s very likely that your domestic plan will NOT cover you during your retirement abroad. Medical expenses incurred abroad can be extremely expensive and as we all know, our health does not improve with age. It will make sense to lock in a global medical insurance plan when you are living abroad from a well known and respected global insurance company, such as the expat health plan we offer from Cigna.

Finding the right international medical insurer is an extremely complex issue. There are many different levels of healthcare around the world, as well as vastly changing local regulations. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure you’ve selected an international health insurance plan that fully protects you and your family. You should also consider a global health plan that will cover you for life as some plans will termiante after you reach age 70 or 75.

Contact Expat Financial for expert advice and to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements.

How Expats Can Save Money When Moving to the UK

The UK’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant history, and high standard of living have made it one of the most sought-after expat destinations in the world. London’s eminence as a global business center also means that many expat positions there will come with high wages. However, these qualities have also contributed to a high cost of living. The UK is the 12th most expensive country to live in in the world, and its capital, London, is the 5th most expensive city in the world. To help you keep costs down, we at Expat Financial will discuss five ways to save money in the UK.

1. Saving on Flights

As expats move to the United Kingdom from all over the world, they would all love to save a penny or two on their airfare. One of the easiest ways to do this is to book flights well in advance. Airlines tend to hike the price of tickets as your departure date looms closer, so booking at least several months in advance will allow you to avoid this. Additionally, if flying to the UK from your own country proves unusually expensive, you could try booking a flight to another cheaper European destination. This is a valid strategy, as due to the significant presence of low-cost airlines in Europe, once you are in Europe, flying within the continent can become as cheap as the taxi to the airport.

2. Saving on Accommodation

With the average flat price in Central London is an astonishing 1.4 million USD, and the average British citizen spending nearly 40% of their income on housing, it makes sense to share a flat with fellow expats to keep costs down. In addition to helping your pocket, sharing an apartment is also a great way to make new friends. Online platforms such as Gumtree and SpareRoom make it easy for expats to arrange a shared flat. For students in the UK, you can often obtain very inexpensive and basic rooms through your university or private student housing companies like Unite Students.

3. Saving on Food

As a melting pot of different cultures, Britain’s vast offering of diverse cuisines makes it a foodie’s paradise. Although some of this diversity amounts to £300 a head omakase bars, there is still an abundance of cheap eats to be found. Straying from the main tourist and business areas will usually lead to finding low-cost local favourites. Additionally, many restaurants lower their prices both before and after peak hours, so that late night sitting may be saving you money. It is easy to obtain ready made meals from the large food chains and department stores in London and other parts of the UK. If you avoid restaurants in your hotel, the prices can be much more reasobable. We strongly recommend trying the excellent pub food as well.

4. Saving on your Commute

The major cities of Britain are home to some of the best public transit networks in the world, and subsequently, they make owning a car very optional. In London for instance, only 33% of people drive on a daily basis. Utilizing public transit will not only save you money, but it will also save you time, as taking the tube is often faster than driving as city traffic can be agonizingly slow during rush hour. In areas that are not covered by the public transit system, using Uber is often less expensive than hailing a cab.

5. Saving on International Health Insurance in the UK

Traveling to the UK without adequate health care could leave your finances in ruin, especially if you wish to obtain medical care through the private system versus the National Health Service. Unfortunately, the NHS has had some serious problems which include very long waiting lists for treatment. You may also be traveling or want to obtain medical treatment in your home country. Therefore, it makes sense to contact an international healthcare advisor to make sure that you are fully covered. Expat Financial offers many different international health insurance plans for expats moving to the UK for long or extended durations. In addition, we offer group plans for multinational firms with great rates and enhanced coverage. If you have any questions regarding our services or the plans we can provide, please contact us or complete the quote form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is your company employing American expats?

Is Your Company Aware of the Risks for American Expats?

Is your organization or multinational company employing American expats? Are you aware that most American expatriates will want to seek medical treatment in the USA if possible, especially for serious conditions? If so, are you aware of the significant costs associated with medical care in the USA?

We have sourced some excellent risk prediction guidelines for expatriate claims in the USA or for American expats who more often than not wish to obtain medical care back in their home country. These medical costs can easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and more often than not the employer will have to cover.

Our firm is highly experienced in both sourcing global medical coverage for firms that employ American expatriates and covering their dependents who are located with the overseas employee or residing back in the USA. Unfortunately, we often see extremely inadequate medical plans provided for American employees that will often restrict medical care in the States or not cover the USA at all. Even worse, some expat employers will have group insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing medical conditions for these American expats.

international health insurance for chronic conditions

Annual Medical Costs in the USA

Our firm has gathered a detailed “Risk Prediction Guideline for Expat Claims in the USA” that we are able to share to corporate clients that employ expatriates in the USA or have American expat employees working overseas. Note that the costs can vary widely depending on the state, city, medical provider and of course the nature and severity of the claim. Here are some sample annual medical costs from the report:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: $40,000 to $60,000

Bone Cancer:  $100,000 to $250,000

Lymphoma: $80,000 to $150,000

Diabetes: $30,000 to $40,000

Valve Replacement: $60,000 or more

Transplants: Over $200,000 in most circumstances

Back Disorders: Over $50,000

Complicated Pregnancy & Birth: Easily over $500,000

So, as you can see from the sample of medical costs in US dollars, the annual medical treatment costs in the United States can often run in the hundreds of thousands and for many clients, one claim can easily exceed the entire medical premium that they would be paying for a group of American expatriates. Many expats or their family members will often suffer from one of these conditions or may in the future. Many expat employers are not aware of the fine print on their global medical coverage are being served by domestic-focused brokers with limited or no understanding of expatriate medical coverage.

Next Step for Expat Employers

It makes sense to cover these risks with a global benefit plan that will provide superior coverage for your entire expat population, especially American expats or foreign employees located in the USA. To learn more, contact our firm to discuss your global expatriate insurance needs as it pays to work with a specialist firm. You can also visit our corporate expat insurance page for additional details. If our firm is engaged as your expat insurance broker, we would be pleased to share our valuable risk report.

Future Expat Employee Trends for Expatriate Employers

expat employees

Cigna has recently released a detailed study on expatriate trends for global employers with the National Foreign Trade CouncilCigna Global Benefits surveyed employees on how they felt about the benefits offered by expat employees – such as housing, income, taxation, education and of course insurance. This is very valuable for global mobility managers because Cigna set up anonymous feedback from the employees for candid feedback from over 100 countries. We wanted to summarize the findings from an expat insurance specialist perspective and provide our insights and opinions for our expat clients and prospective clients around the world.

Global Mobility Changes

Global mobility has been changing over the past ten years, including how expat employers are supporting female expats. Many female expats are not feeling well served by their employers. Cigna also noted how the internet has really changed the communication between expats and employers over the past decade. However, what’s remained consistent is that the number of US expatriates is going down, probably because American expats are considered expensive employees. They are definitely more expensive to insure as they require global coverage including in the United States.

Additionally, more and more expats being sent abroad to developing and third world destinations and less to well-developed markets such as Europe. Asia and Africa have also been key destinations for expats in 2017. This creates more complexity for expat employers when sending people to third world locations such as Lagos or Cambodia.

What do Expats Value? 

In the study, expats noted that before they took on an expat assignment, what they valued the most was:

  • Relocation Services
  • Settlement Services
  • Medical preparedness

When expatriates were going to a location, they found that overall assignment preparedness was crucial, mainly since the cost of a failed assignment can be up to 4 times their salary.

Expat Communication is Critical

The study also found that expat employees had some insights on communications. Many expats felt that employers did not communicate often enough with them before going overseas. Incomee was a key part of communications, but also moving arrangements and medical benefits when living abroad. Expats wanted to know more about how to live in a new location, restaurants, exercise, safety and of course where they can obtain medical assistance. Providing a list of hospitals that the expat medical plan has a direct relationship to is something our firm sees as a secure communication to provide as top-flight medical providers such as Cigna have this all online for free.

Added Value for Expats is Important

Another suggestion that we find helpful for expats is cross-culture training, language courses and even tax assistance. Our firm has many contacts with providers in all these areas. In fact, we work with some excellent expat tax specialists who can assist your expat population. Mentoring from other expats in the new country location is important for many expatriates. As an expat employer, you want to make your employees as comfortable and settled as possible in their new location so they can hit the road running.

Medical Care

The study also found several items related to medical care that are quite interesting. This includes:

  • Over 70% of expat employees use medical care while living abroad regardless of age
  • More expats are becoming comfortable getting medical care locally if it’s of high quality and availability.
  • Emergency evacuation is still an important concern
  • Having a large medical network and not having to pay out of pocket is quite important for expatriates. In our dealings with expat and their employers, we find this to be the number one concern of expatriates.
  • Expats in North America reported more access to mental illness services

Our expat group clients often experience the above observations and trends. The study did not talk about other insurance benefits that are critical for expat employees and employers – such as global life and accident coverage, dental, employee assistance and long-term disability insurance. More often than not employers only address the medical insurance component with these other vital services as an afterthought. We also find that medical coverage for their partners and children is also a critical concern for most expats, so this should be a factor for employers. Some firms will only provide coverage for the employees and leave the employee to obtain more expensive coverage for his or her dependents, which we feel is an ineffective expat employment strategy.

Our firm believes that if you want to have a higher chance of a successful expat assignment, you need to have a comprehensive and effective global benefit platform that is sourced by an independent expat specialist firm. Claims issues and complaints from expat employees halfway around the world can quickly bog down an HR department and lead to failed assignments.

global medical

Balancing Expat Assignment Costs

Expatriates realize that their HR Managers are very concerned about the costs associated with expat assignments, perhaps 3 or 4 times the annual salary when all benefits are worked in, but companies also have to have a benefit plan and compensation package that will both attract and retain valuable global expat talent. We find that global medical premiums often rise approximately 9 to 15% per year assuming regular claiming patterns to keep up with health inflation trends. At renewal, the insurers will often present higher deductible and coinsurance options, but these are very difficult to implement in the expat sector as these employees expect global medical plans that are attractive, easy to use and at little or no cost to their pocketbooks.

Repatriation

Another concern for expats is repatriation, which generally means moving expats back to their home country, next opportunity or another expat country assignment. Most employers have little or no repatriation program for their employees. Reverse culture shock can even be an issue for many employees coming home from countries with radically different cultures.

If your company has expatriates located abroad and would like a second opinion on your global benefit plan, it pays to work with an expatriate insurance specialist firm such as Expat Financial, which is a division of TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd. Contact us today to discuss your expatriate insurance program, provide a detailed analysis and obtain quotes from the market.

 

The Cigna study can be found Cigna global expat trends study.

TFG Global is a valued broker for both individual and group plans from Cigna and our contacts at the company are both extensive and high level. We have worked with Cigna for many years and knew their capabilities and plans inside out. For more information on the corporate Cigna plan we offer expats, click HERE. We also offer their global health plan.

You can listen to the interview at:

https://www.cignaglobalhealth.com/resources/podcasts/episode-1-globally-vocal.html?__prclt=5A7VZBzf

Or listen below: